a future candidate for hanging

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    Remember the Nuremberg trials and the subsequent hangings - the more things change the more they remain the same.

    Court erupts over expert's testimony on `Arab mentality'

    By Yair Ettinger

    The Haifa District Court was thrown into disarray yesterday during testimony given by an expert witness on behalf of the State Prosecution in a case involving the Islamic Movement. At the height of the uproar, Judge Micha Lindenstrauss ordered one of the five defendants, Dr. Suliman Agbariya, out the courtroom. In protest, the remaining defendants and their supporters left the courtroom, too, directing cries of "You're a Nazi" at the state's expert.

    The Arab mentality is made of "a sense of being a victim," "pathological anti-Semitism," and "a tendency to live in a world of illusions," said Prof. Rafi Israeli, a lecturer in Middle Eastern studies at Hebrew University, on the witness stand yesterday, adding that the Arabs neglect sanitation in their communities. "Most of the Arab villages are dirtier, physically - it's a fact," he said.

    Professor Israeli is the last of the prosecution's witnesses in the case against five Islamic Movement members accused of security and financial offenses.

    The defense initially requested that Israeli's testimony be rejected, claiming the professor is identified with the extreme right - but his testimony was heard.

    The professor's entire testimony, which began last week and was completed yesterday, was accompanied by interjections and outbursts of emotion. Israeli was summoned to testify on an opinion he rendered at the request of the prosecution and according to which there exists an ideological similarity between the Islamic Movement under Sheikh Ra'ad Salah and the Islamic Brotherhood and Hamas. Like the Islamic Brotherhood and Hamas, Israeli believes, the Islamic Movement is a subversive organization that seeks the destruction of Israel.

    During cross-examination yesterday, Israeli was asked to respond to questions on a number of issues concerning his viewpoint on the Arabs in Israel, Islam in general, and the sketch he offered of the nature of "the Arab mentality."

    The cross-examination, handled by attorneys Avigdor Feldman and Riad Anis, focused on the opinion Israeli wrote for the prosecution and, primarily, on quotes from a book he published in 2002 in which he describes Israel's Arabs as a fifth column "that sucks on the udders of the country."

    Yesterday in the witness box, Israeli reiterated that the Arabs were "a burden on the state."

    During the course of the court hearing, Sheikh Ra'ad Salah likened Israeli's opinions to those of the Nazis. Similar views, Salah said, "caused the people of Israel to fall in the Holocaust."

    Addressing Israeli, Salah said, "You are the danger; you are the worm of your people."

    The Islamic Movement and its defense team expressed shock and outrage at the choice of Israeli as a witness for the prosecution. "It's a shame and a disgrace," said attorney Feldman, noting he would be taking the matter up with the attorney general "to see if he stands behind this testimony."

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